Dancing with the Wind: A Methodological Approach to Researching Women’s Spirituality around Menstruation and Birth

Sharon Moloney

Abstract


Research into spirituality is by definition problematic. In an evidence-based culture, how is a concept like spirituality defined and measured? Through her doctoral dissertation, the author seeks to illuminate dimensions of female spirituality connected with the processes of menstruation and birth. In Western industrialized culture, these processes are regarded as medical concerns. Reframing the spiritual significance of menses, the author explores the links between attitudes toward menstruation and spirituality, and women’s birth experiences. The lack of research and literature about the spirituality of menstruation, or the spiritual care of the birthing woman denotes a vacuum in both theory and practice. The author presents her methodological approach to resolving the dilemma of how to research the elusive concept of female spirituality—an endeavor akin to attempting to lasso the wind! Through a combination of autoethnography, focus groups, and in-depth interviews, she takes up the challenge of expanding the qualitative research frontier.

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